If we will attentively consider new born children, we shall have little reason to think that they bring many ideas into the world with them and that "by degrees afterward, ideas come into their minds. Locke allowed that some ideas are in the mind from an early age, but argued that such ideas are furnished by the senses starting in the womb: If we have a universal understanding of a concept like sweetness, it is not because this is an innate idea, but because we are all exposed to sweet tastes at an early age.
Locke grew up and lived through one of the most extraordinary centuries of English political and intellectual history. It was a century in which conflicts between Crown and Parliament and the overlapping conflicts between Protestants, Anglicans and Catholics swirled into civil war in the s.
This period lasted from to It was marked by continued conflicts between King and Parliament and debates over religious toleration for Protestant dissenters and Catholics.
His father was a country lawyer who served in a cavalry company on the Puritan side in the early stages of the English Civil War. In Locke went to Westminster School in London.
From Westminster school he went to Christ Church, Oxford, in the autumn of at the age of twenty. As Westminster school was the most important English school, so Christ Church was the most important Oxford college. Education at Oxford was medieval. Locke, like Hobbes before him, found the Aristotelian philosophy he was taught at Oxford of little use.
There was, however, more at Oxford than Aristotle. The new experimental philosophy had arrived. The group around Wilkins was the nucleus of what was to become the English Royal Society.
The Society grew out of informal meetings and discussion groups and moved to London after the Restoration and became a formal institution in the s with charters from Charles II. The program was to study nature rather than books.
Locke received his B. His career at Oxford, however, continued beyond his undergraduate days. The rank was equivalent to a Fellow at any of the other colleges, but was not permanent. Locke had yet to determine what his career was to be.
At this point, Locke needed to make a decision. The statutes of Christ Church laid it down that fifty five of the senior studentships should be reserved for men in orders or reading for orders. Only five could be held by others, two in medicine, two in law and one in moral philosophy.
Thus, there was good reason for Locke to become a clergyman. Locke decided to become a doctor. The new leader of the Oxford scientific group was Robert Boyle. Boyle was, however, most influential as a theorist. He was a mechanical philosopher who treated the world as reducible to matter in motion.
Locke read Boyle before he read Descartes. When he did read Descartes, he saw the great French philosopher as providing a viable alternative to the sterile Aristotelianism he had been taught at Oxford.
In the Epistle to the Reader at the beginning of the Essay Locke remarks: The commonwealth of learning is not at this time without master-builders, whose mighty designs, in advancing the sciences, will leave lasting monuments to the admiration of posterity: Newton, with some others of that strain, it is ambition enough to be employed as an under-labourer in clearing the ground a little, and removing some of the rubbish that lies in the way to knowledge ….
Sydenham was an English physician and Locke did medical research with him.
Presumably this will reveal the degree of certainty of the knowledge based on such ideas. David Thomas was his friend and collaborator. Locke and Thomas had a laboratory in Oxford which was very likely, in effect, a pharmacy. In Lord Ashley, one of the richest men in England, came to Oxford in order to drink some medicinal waters there.
He had asked Dr. Thomas to provide them. Thomas had to be out of town and asked Locke to see that the water was delivered. As a result of this encounter, Ashley invited Locke to come to London as his personal physician.
Living with him Locke found himself at the very heart of English politics in the s and s. Lord Ashley was one of the advocates of the view that England would prosper through trade and that colonies could play an important role in promoting trade.From a general summary to chapter summaries to explanations of famous quotes, the SparkNotes Essay Concerning Human Understanding Study Guide has everything you need to .
From a general summary to chapter summaries to explanations of famous quotes, the SparkNotes Essay Concerning Human Understanding Study Guide has everything you need to . Study Guide for An Essay Concerning Human Understanding.
An Essay Concerning Human Understanding study guide contains a biography of John Locke, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, and a full summary and analysis. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding is a work by John Locke concerning the foundation of human knowledge and understanding.
It first appeared in (although dated ) with the printed title An Essay Concerning Humane Understanding. Summary. Having developed in Book I his argument concerning the nonexistence of innate ideas, Locke undertakes in Book II to describe in detail the process by means of which ideas come to be present in human minds.
An Essay concerning human Understanding by John Locke. An essay concerning human understanding is one of the greatest philosophy works: Locke, folllowing, Descartes, described the new world of spirit and consciousness, thaht make human dignity.